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Japan’s Abe tells G7 he backs WHO on coronavirus response, in contrast with Trump

Japan’s Abe tells G7 he backs WHO on coronavirus response, in contrast with Trump

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed support on Friday for the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the campaign against the coronavirus, in contrast with President Donald Trump who has vowed to cut US funding to the agency.

Abe said at a news conference he had told fellow Group of Seven leaders on Thursday that “the international community, centering on the WHO, must cooperate to fight this infectious disease, which is having a global impact” and Japan would “firmly” support it.

“There’s only the WHO that can serve as an international institution” to address the pandemic, Abe said. He did not criticize Trump, with whom he has a warm relationship but the Japanese leader backed G7 calls to consider reforms to the WHO, Reuters reported.

Abe said that “there are various views on the WHO, such as it may not be politically neutral,” but he rejected the idea of Tokyo reducing its funding. “We must firmly back the WHO for now,” according to the Japanese PM.